New Haven Ballet is excited to announce that esteemed dancer and teacher, Aly Tatchöl Camara, will be joining New Haven Ballet faculty for the summer to teach West African Dance.
Mr. Tatchöl was born in Dansy, a small village in Guinea, West Africa. Dansy is part of the Boffa region. (The popular dances/rhythms Sorsorne and Kaki Lambe originate from the Baga people of the Boffa region.)
Mr. Tatchöl’s grandparents adopted him when he was three, and moved to the village of Kouffin. By the time he was six years old, he was already learning folklore (traditional) dancing and drumming as a part of every day village life. (He recalls his first experience with the drum was playing an empty bottle that was open on both ends, and then covered with plastic, secured by elastic.) Mr. Tatchöl learned traditional folkloric dancing and drumming as he grew up in Kouffin.
In 1978, he moved to the village Kasmar, which is in the Boke region. In Kasmar, he continued to follow his passion for dance, honing his skills in the art of “street dance”, learning acrobatics and eventually teaching the folkloric dances of his home region.
In 1984, Mr. Tatchöl was spotted by a representative of the renowned Les Ballet Dougouffissa and asked to join the company. (Les Ballet Dougouffissa’s reputation for traditional dance is such that even world famous Les Ballet Africains studies with them.) His was quick to learn new choreography and soon began to coach and choreograph for the other dancers. “Once I realized that I was a teacher and a choreographer, I knew I needed to share these traditions with the world.”
He later joined and toured with Ballet Variety and Ballet Unite Africa in Senegal. His international break came when he was chosen to join Les Ballets Bougarabou in 1993. The company toured the United States and Canada performing at major world music and folklore festivals and teaching workshops and classes. (Among its note worthy North American appearances, Ballet Bougarabou has performed for special events at the United Nations.) Later, Mr. Tatchöl began teaching children and adult classes at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and the Fareta School of Dance and Drum in New York.
In 1995, he became the principal dance instructor for Connecticut’s New Haven School of African Dance and Drum. He continues to teach in the area’s public and private school systems, at regional workshops as well as at Yale University. Kouffin Kanecke, his New Haven based company, is presently enchanting audiences with his unique productions and artistic vision.
I love to teach people my traditional dance and drum. I’m excited to see their enthusiasm and interest as they learn about my culture!
In anticipation of releasing our first videos from the 2021 Spring Performance, we celebrate the talent of Max Holman. Mr. Holman composed and performed the music for The Children’s Ballet especially for New Haven Ballet.
Some may recall Mr. Holman as a former beloved New Haven Ballet accompanist. Today, he is a Boston-based keyboardist, conductor, improviser, and educator. His recent work includes composing the music for Brimmer and May School’s 2021 spring musical, where he teaches middle and high school music and chorus, as well as performing on harpsichord in J.S. Bach’s first four Brandenburg Concertos with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in March 2021. An avid ballet accompanist, Max has collaborated with New Haven Ballet, American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School, Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance. He received his bachelor’s in music education from Rutgers University and his master’s in choral conducting from the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
Thank you, Max Holman, for the beautiful score. We look forward to sharing videos through New Haven Ballet’s YouTube channel featuring dancers performing The Children’s Ballet soon.
Dear New Haven Ballet Family and Friends,
The Great Give begins Tuesday, May 4, at 8:00 a.m., and will run for 36 hours, ending on Wednesday, May 5, at 8:00 p.m. We at New Haven Ballet (NHB) recognize that this year has been hard for all our families—whether through lost earnings, lost studies, lost companionship, or the greatest loss of all, lost loved ones. Like you, we have been struggling, but we have continued to keep our dancers dancing, for we know that the joy of dance can unite and uplift our entire community.
We have faced many challenges, offering classes on Zoom and performances on YouTube videos. Our cleaning protocols and videotaping have ensured that once our students and faculty started returning to the studios and performing in ensembles they would be as safe as we could make them. These extra costs have been burdensome, but they have enabled our students to continue performing and our audiences to share their performances. Even now, our dancers are preparing to present a virtual spring performance, which will be sent free of charge to all our families.
Today, as Connecticut’s vaccine rollout brings hope that in the coming months we might once more perform onstage for you, we are looking ahead. NHB has launched a costume initiative, starting with our Waltz of the Snowflake tutus. The costumes are being remade to contain components that would match each dancer’s skin tone, components that will allow the costume to be shared from performance to performance. Down the road, we hope to make similar adjustments as we refurbish our other costumes.
So on May 4, we ask that you consider a donation to keep NHB’s dancers dancing and our sewers sewing. A donation of any amount would be welcome—you might want to consider donating what you would have paid for spring performance tickets, something that would help us defray the expenses of videotaping the performance. Thank you, and may you all stay safe and well as we look forward to the day we shall be together again.
New Haven Ballet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
From all of us at New Haven Ballet, thank you for supporting us!
New Haven Ballet announces its Summer 2021 Schedule, which offers in-studio summer intensive classes for Levels 2-8 July 5-17, 2021. Class sizes are limited and will adhere to NHB’s studio COVID policies. Weekly studio classes are also offered for Creative Ballet 1, Creative Ballet 2, Pre-Ballet, Primary, and Level 1 July 5-31. Drop in Open Division and weekly Level 2-8 classes are offered via Zoom July 5-31. For registration information call 203-782-9038 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSchedule July 5-17
One on one appointments are being offered to Level 3-8 dancers on Saturday, January 23. Each screening is 15-minutes long. Space is limited. You must contact the office to reserve your spot.
Pre-pointe Screenings: A pre-pointe screening with a dance medicine professional will determine the dancer’s strength and readiness to go on pointe, while also creating a baseline for the dancer to improve upon, establishing areas of weakness and limitations in technique. The dance medicine professionals take a comprehensive look at the dancer’s body, focusing more heavily on the legs and feet to determine these strengths and weaknesses and provide a summary, as well as suggestions for exercises and conditioning to prepare the student for pointe work.
Level 3 students who wish to prepare for pointe work are encouraged to take advantage of this screening opportunity.
Dance Fitness Assessments: A dance fitness assessment with a dance medicine professional takes a comprehensive look at the dancer’s body from head to toe to assess strength, range of motion, flexibility, balance, and alignment in dance. These screenings are used as a tool to prevent injury and increase function in dance. Following the one on one assessment, the dancer will be provided with areas of weakness and exercises to improve upon these areas and maximize their abilities in dance.
Dance fitness assessments are recommended for all dancers.
Dance Medicine Professionals:
Dr. Brianne Dwyer, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, Clinic Manager, Dance Medicine Director
Bio: Brianne M. Dwyer is a Connecticut native who graduated from DeSales University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Prior to receiving her undergraduate degree, Brianne trained with Mystic Ballet, as well as danced with American Ballet Theatre Collegiate Program, Annex Dance Company, and LEVY dance. Upon graduation in 2012, Brianne performed with Full Force Dance Theatre and CONNectic Dance. Brianne has taught dance throughout Connecticut and Southeastern Pennsylvania for over 10 years. Brianne has also been a certified Pilates instructor for since 2012. From 2012 to 2015, Brianne worked at Magna Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center as the Director of Dance Medicine & Conditioning. Since then, she went on to obtain her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University in 2018, in which she had the opportunity to complete clinical affiliations at NovaCare Rehabilitation, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital Performing Arts Physical Therapy Program. Brianne recently returned to Magna PT as the Clinic Coordinator of our Avon location and Dance Medicine Director to continue to grow and expand the amazing physical therapy programs Magna PT has to offer. Brianne continues to remain involved with the dance community in CT, as Vice President of the Connecticut Dance Alliance.
Dr. Meagan Robichaud, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, Dance Medicine Coordinator
Bio: Meagan graduated with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Springfield College. She was given the opportunity to complete her full time clinical affiliations with Mountain Center PT in NH, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, and Magna Physical Therapy. Prior to receiving her doctorate she completed her undergraduate studies in Health Sciences and Dance. She has had a passion for dance and incorporating it into her career for many years. Meagan has been dancing since she was three, spending her time training with the Roxey Ballet in New Jersey and performing in the trainee company, fulfilling roles in ballets such as the Nutcracker, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Pied Piper. Through her time at Springfield College, she had the opportunity to expand her dance variety and perform with the Dance Repertory Company. Meagan is very excited to have returned to Magna Physical Therapy as a physical therapist and Dance Medicine Coordinator to finally fulfill her dream of blending her passion for helping people with her love of dance.
NHB Zoom Class: Levels 5-8
Starting: Monday, January 11, 2021
For Zoom Link Contact: Administrator@newhavenballet.org
Damien Johnson is originally from Dallas, Texas. He received his early dance training from Kitty Carter, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and The Etkin-Atkinson School of Ballet. Johnson went on to study at The Rock School and The School of American Ballet, the official school of The New York City Ballet.
As a professional dancer, Johnson has been a member of American Repertory Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New Chamber Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, and London based Ballet Black where he was a principal dancer for 10 seasons. Since returning to the states in 2017, Johnson has performed with Madison Ballet, The Ashley Bouder Project, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.
Johnson is a sought-after teacher who is certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in Pre-Primary-Level 3 as well as classical Pilates through Power Pilates. He has also served as a National Visiting Fellow with the School of American Ballet and taught for many companies and dance institutions including The Central School of Ballet, Rambert School, Bermuda Civic Ballet, Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, Ballet Black, and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.